Politics is a dirty game in which the cunning (politicians) excel by manipulation and opportunism, with no regard for ethics as long as the picture presented corresponds to the social ethos. Politicians are astute individuals who can not pass up an opportunity to improve their reputation in the public eye. Opportunities manifest themselves as flaws in their enemies or as needs of the governed. During a vote, it is not unusual to see an uncompromising candidate tarnishing their opponent’s reputation in various forms. Furthermore, campaigns are a strategic technique meant to “deceive” the voter and convince him or her to “buy” the candidate that is campaigning. At times campaigns can be meant to serve the purpose of decampaigning the opponent whereby voters are convinced why they should not vote for a certain candidate. The law stresses on the significance of respecting other people’s rights yet it gives room for all the above situations to be exploited.
The case of Susan B. Anthony can serve as clear indication of individuals in the society only creating conditions that favor their endeavors (Anthony 208). At the time when the American nation was still being born, the society was largely chauvinistic. Powerful people of the time were the ruling elite where not only rich but also from the white majority. These people undermined the significance of the other people, especially the minority African-Americans and women. African-Americans served as slaves during that period and together with women they were underprivileged in a white male dominated society. Women were not allowed to vote in political elections hence being denied suffrage. At one point they were not allowed to own property while they could not function as witnesses in a court of law. As time has demonstrated, oppression and injustices against a particular group of people brings about instability whereby they agitate for their rights.
The rise of feminism in the late 19th century played a significant role in advocating for social changes. Acts of provocations such as Susan B. Antony taking part in voting served as a catalyst for transformations. From her argument it is clear that every citizens needs to be educated on their rights and duties as American people. Anthony is a clear indication that ignorance was the major factor holding back people from exercising their democratic rights. In the eyes of men, she had broken the law since women were prohibited from voting. However, in the eyes of the law she had only upheld her democratic right of suffrage as provided by the American constitution (Anthony 209). Therefore, the next generation ought to be educated and knowledgeable in order to recognize their rights and duties while being respectful of the other people’s rights. The society can benefit from brave individuals who are willing to put their lives on the line so as to ensure a better tomorrow.
Responsible American citizens should not only partake in the choosing of their political representatives but also recognize that there are duties and responsibilities that leaders must perform. The policies that those elected officials make directly affect the welfare of the American people. Incumbent leaders are usually smart always championing the interests of the majority so that they can be reelected. They will go to a specific community within their districts and focus on catering for the immediate needs of those particular people. For instance, if it is a jobs that people need the politician will focus on creating jobs without giving much attention to other needs such as drug abuse. The case of George Washington Plunkitt can serve as an eye-opener for people (Riordan 209). He described how he maneuvered political office amid scrutiny through paying attention to the needs of the voters. Such an approach is more likely to result into social progress at the expense of significant visionary economic developments that do not directly affect a people.
The next generation ought not to be blinded by short-term solutions put in place by incumbents. People need to be critical to determine how certain projects affect future generations and weigh disadvantages against merits to fully understand the significance. A good project is one where the benefits would outlive a public servant’s tenure in office. Future leaders are better equipped when they know the struggles and suffering of people then attempt to come up with both short-term and long-term solutions. As Plunkitt admitted, incumbents only need staff designated to studying human nature to help them act accordingly in order to continue holding office (Riordan 2010). Plunkitt made use of organizations such as Citizen’s Union to learn about the people’s problems and implement solutions (211). Every good act performed by a politician plays a vital role in maintaining the people’s support.
Political campaigns are a great way for the politicians to proclaim their manifesto in attempt to appeal to the eyes of the people. The success of a given political campaign is evaluated on the basis of the candidates that garners the majority votes. While campaigning the only thing that worries politicians is appealing to the masses. For this reason, some are very likely to create a certain image that is only meant to be shown to public despite carrying a very different personality. The amount of finances put into campaigning together with increasing significance of advertising industry in politics is evidence that voters buy the politicians as mere products (McGinniss 212). There is minimal attention given to the actual issues that matter within the political domain. Advertising is a crucial aspect of business whereby it is used to market products so that customers can buy more from the given company while disregarding competitors.
The case of Richard Nixon running for the presidency again and eventually win the presidential race is a good example of how citizens’ psychology can be manipulated into changing their perspective. While in public service leaders can do certain things that will lead to the citizenry ether liking or disliking them. Nixon had failed in his campaign against John F. Kennedy and ended up building a negative image (McGinniss 212). The perceptions of the people had been tarnished by the media. Before running for office he was encouraged by William Garvin to pursue. In Gavin’s opinion, it was advisable to go for the presidency again even after losing because one is only a loser if he or she does not try to win again (214). Garvin also believed that since the media was the tool that was used to destroy Nixon’s image, it was the one most capable of rebuilding him. Therefore, Nixon took advantage of the situation at hand and worked on creating a new image that the public wanted to see. Future generations ought to look beyond the image of the person they see on the television screen.
Elections have the power to bring about major political changes especially within parties. The politics of the American society are built around a two-party system hence any shifts experienced during elections have significant effects. The stability of parties depends on the presidential elections results (Burnham 218). In cases where the majority party garners victory, loyalties are maintained hence stability. It is also possible for the basic party loyalties to remain stable whereas the majority one does not win. At times even after the majority party wins, it is likely for it to experience shifts whereby loyalties are not particularly maintained. When Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992, major upheavals were witnessed as the majority party lost its standing as well as losing the elections (217). Therefore, the majority party can become basic but it will undergo the same cycle to become majority party again and vice versa.
President George Bush’s political campaign against Governor Michael Dukakis shows how politicians can go an extra mile to mislead the public in their favor (Jamieson 221). A critical eye is required by every American citizen regarding which candidate to choose. Bush enjoyed the support of white supremacists although he openly rejected association. He chose a case of an African American crime to use against his opponent knowing very well that it will earn him the support of white supremacists. There were many other non-race related cases he could have chosen but he did not. The public was fed large chunks of true but misleading information in order to vote for Bush (222). He was seen a man tough on crime yet his opponent had even a better record.
The American Governmental System is by no means rotten. It only requires one to be sharp and cunning in order to survive and excel. Leaders looking to serve can be of great benefit to the citizenry once they focus on improving people’s lives. Leaders that live among the people are able to become part of the community, thus they have better knowledge of the issues facing the citizens. The people need to recognize the media’s power in creating images that they want see even if they are not true (Jamieson 226). It will be prudent for people to synthesize any information without taking it all while it is still raw.
Anthony, Susan. “Speech in Defense of Equal Suffrage.” 1893.
Burnham, Walter. “Critical Elections and the Mainstream of American Politics. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc, 1970.
Jamieson, Kathleen. “Dirty Politics: Deception, Distraction.” Oxford University Press, 1993.
McGinniss, Joe. “The Selling of the President.” Janklow & Nesbit Associates, 1969.
Riordan, William. “Plunkitt of Tammany Hall.” McClure Phillips, 1905.